||A mostly political Weblog.|
Instapundit Scares Me!
Plus--Krugman makes the case for Bush.By Mickey Kaus
Updated Wednesday, March 22, 2006, at 6:36 AM ET
Rocketboom: Jim Pinkerton wants to go to Mars with Glenn Reynolds. Who knew? 3:27 A.M.
Instapundit frightens me! I second the positive things Jim Geraghty says in his NRO review of Glenn Reynolds' Army of Davids.
One of the worries about blogs--one of my worries, anyway--was that
their efficient style wouldn't work in longer writing. Not true, it
turns out. Instapundit's book
reads fast, because as a good blogger he's clear and doesn't waste your
time. It's just one big idea after another, like a Hollywood thriller
that piles on the plot rather than stopping to tie up the loose ends.
Just when you're tired of hearing the thesis that the Internet empowers
individuals (Davids) at the expense of big bureaucratic organizations
(Goliaths), Reynolds is on to nanotechnology, and space travel, and
engineered semi-immortality, and "the Singularity,"** the point at
which change happens so fast that life as we know it is transformed.
He's fearless--another bloggerly virtue.
Michael Malone thinks Reynolds should have stopped with the Internet and not included the nanotech, life extension and Singularity chapters. I'm not so sure. For one thing, it's good to get the entire Instapunditweltanschaung
in one place. I was never certain what "a pack not a herd" meant; now I
know. (It means defending against terrorism with self-organizing
networks of empowered individuals rather than government bureaucracies
ordering people around).
For another, if you're a technological
determinist like Reynolds and you're honest, you've got to go where the
technology determines--even if, in the first half of the book it seems
to be devolving power from large organizations to individuals, but in
the unexpectedly action-packed space chapter it leads to powerful
nations hurling giant metal ships into space using nuclear bombs.
are also thematic connections to the futurist bigthink, some of them
underemphasized by Reynolds himself. Why bring in
"nanotechnology"--which doesn't simply provide an efficient means of
production but threatens to eliminate the economy's underlying problem
of scarcity, rendering production itself obsolete (bad news for Chinese
factories)? Well, many of our current Goliath-like organizations would
seem to have little place when our material needs can be satisfied by a
molecular assembly station the size of a refrigerator. And this
technology also promises a world in which individuals are freed to do
what they want to do--make music, hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, criticize after dinner--rather than what they have to do to survive in a labor market. I predict lots of bad novels.
does the "Comfy Chair Revolution"--the growth of privately run spaces
where individuals can set and work with their laptops- have to do with
tech-empowered bloggers and musicians? Well, one of the complaints
against an economy made up of self-employed, self-contained
hustlers--all connecting with their nomadic, monadic, personal
technologies--is that any sense of community is lost. Not so, says
Reynolds--there's more community at Starbucks than there is in a
standard row of corporate cubicles. He even suggests that video games
can make up for a loss of community values. As that last example suggests, Reynolds is provocatively optimistic but not necessarily convincing.
especially not persuaded, for example, that when technology puts
greater and greater destructive power into the hands of smaller and
smaller numbers of individuals it won't ultimately lead to some sort of
doom. Imagine a rowboat with ten people, of varying religious beliefs,
all of whom have their fingers on the trigger of a personal nuclear
device. They try to get along and run a little society. How many times
will this scenario result in a big explosion? More often than not, I
suspect. Reynolds' breezy description of the ways more virtuous and
numerous individuals can be empowered to track terrorists down doesn't
convince me that the rowboat isn't where we're headed.
the point, Reynolds doesn't convince himself either. It's not a
confidence-builder when, on page 206, he endorses space colonization as
a way for humanity to survive in case we destroy life on the planet
we're currently on.
[O]ver the long term, by which
I mean the next century, not the next millennium, disaster may hold the
edge over prevention: a nasty biological agent only has to get out once
to devastate humanity, no matter how namy times other such agents were
Nor is biological warfare the only thing we have to fear. Nuclear weapons are spreading ... [snip]
the short term, prevention and defense strategies make sense. But such
strategies take you only so far. As Robert Heinlein once said, Earth is
too fragile a basket to hold all of our eggs. We need to diversify, to
create more baskets. Colonies on the moon, on Mars, in orbit, perhaps
on asteroids and beyond ...
Likewise, I'd be more
delighted that mobile computing technology has provided me a friendly,
semi-communal, "third place" if it hadn't already taken away my second
place (i.e. formal place of work). Compared with an actual office
filled with like-minded souls, my colorful local coffee house is a
decidely more democratic but less productive (and less enjoyable)
I could go on, and I plan to do so in future posts. Like all good big-think trend books, Davids has kept resonating.
**-- See Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near. ... 6:24 P.M. link
Monday, March 20, 2006
Kf is Stupid, Part XIX: I don't quite understand what the health care system will look like after Kinsley's proposed "smaller" reform. Is there no more Medicare? Are people required to buy catastrophic health insurance? What is "the system" in which there will be "rationing-type restrictions"? ... I do want to know. Unpack, please! ... 3:49 P.M.
Kf is Stupid, Part XVIII: Paul Krugman argues domestic spending hasn't really gotten out of control under Bush
[$]. But if so, then maybe Andrew Sullivan and others who supported
Bush's deceptive rhetoric (about deficits and "compassionate
conservatism") on the grounds that he had to "obfuscate his real goals
of reducing spending" had at least a small point, no? ... I've been
assuming that the effort to restrain spending by cutting the
government's tax revenues--which I initially bought into--had failed. But Krugman (and Orin Judd) suggest it might have been at least partly successful. It's impossible to prove, but with more revenues to play with maybe spending increases would have been even greater.
... And of course the less domestic spending increases today, the more
room Dems have to increase it tomorrow, should they ever regain power.
... [Judd link via Insta] 2:06 P.M.
Fred Barnes channels Dick Morris: They sneered a month ago when Peggy Noonan suggested that Bush "hit refresh and anoint a successor by having Cheney resign. Now someone from the very belly of Twenty-first Century Bushism, Fred Barnes, has proposed the same thing (and much, much more, including the replacement of most cabinet secretaries by men named Hubbard). ... Barnes' WSJ piece is bizarrely convincing, but 1) What about McCain?
If Bush anoints Rice, does the front-runner just stand aside quietly?
Doesn't he run against her (and maybe beat her)--or shift to a powerful
third-party candidacy? 2) To what end? If Barnes had
said his proposed shakeup was designed to win the midterms and preserve
Bush's Iraq policy, it would be more appealing than suggesting it's a
scheme to let Bush be "empowered to return to old initiatives such as Social Security reform
and his faith-based initiative." The Bush Social Security plan is still
a loser, and his faith-based initiative is still relatively trivial.
... 12:58 P.M.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Why is Novak's column--suggesting a Gore run for President--news when the man himself told us this back in December? 7:52 P.M.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Demron: Fannie Mae has found "additional errors" in the government-ordered review of its Franklin Raines-era accounting, according to Business Week, and will miss the regular deadline for filing its financial report. ... [via newsalert] 5:36 P.M.
Friday, March 17, 2006
I hadn't been following the "Roe for Men"
issue--the question of whether to allow men to opt-out of their
paternal obligations in, say, the first trimester of a pregnancy they'd
helped produce. If you need to catch up on this cable-ready issue as
well, you can start with last year's Meghan Daum column, then move on to Cathy Young and most recently Anderson Cooper and his many commenters. ... 1) My first reaction is that the plan would be a disaster for the underclass,
with ne'er-do-well men abandoning paternity by the tens of thousands.
But, then, the existing paternal obligation doesn't succeed in
extracting much from unwilling, impoverished fathers, does it? A more
voluntary regime would at least strip away the illusion and put women
on notice. ... 2) My second reaction is that the idea founders on the issue of which men you want to let opt out. Do you want to explicitly let men double-cross women,
claiming they want to be fathers until they bail on their obligations
in the first trimester? If not, then how are the men going to prove that they weren't
double-crossers--e.g. that they never wanted to have children (and that
they made it clear to their partner they never wanted to have
children)? You could allow them to introduce evidence of pre-pregnancy
conversations, which would risk turning every paternity suit into an elaborate what-he said-what-she said trial.
Or you could require that before conception the man sign some sort of
affidavit clearly declaring his non-intention to be a father, and
disclose it, which would certainly warn potential partners. It might
also severely limit the scope of the rule. And if it didn't, that would
probably be because men conned or cajoled women into ignoring it--a
sign, perhaps, that the law shouldn't add to their bargaining options.
P.S.: The evidentiary burden would be even greater if, as at least one mens' rights advocate suggests, the "opt out" would be limited to instances in which "neither
partner had desired a child." [Emph. added] ... And if that's the
standard, would the issue be simply whether the man reasonably thought the woman didn't want a child, or whether the woman really didn't want a child? Short of pre-sex affidavits all around, it looks like a mess. ... 2:36 A.M.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Is there a Clinton-Pellicano connection? Thomas Lipscomb goes over the basis for asking that question. ... On the other hand, Pellicano's not in Isikoff's index. ... 6:03 P.M.
NYT Correction Obfuscation of the Week: The Film Did It! Do you believe that former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner was pictured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine
wearing a maroon jacket, pink shirt and red tie, as if he were the
leader of the high school glee club--when in fact he was wearing a
charcoal jacket, blue shirt and blue tie-- because "the film that was used can cause colors to shift, and the processing altered them further" and "the change escaped notice"? I don't. Obviously the NYT Mag editors wanted to achieve a shocking effect. ... [Emph. added--I mean, the font changed and it escaped notice.] ... P.S.: [The correction raises more questions than it answers!-ed Like what brand of film was it? Shouldn't the Times
warn consumers about the defective, color-shifting product, perhaps in
the "Circuits" section? Did the paper, in a desperate cost-cutting
move, purchase a truckload of expired film from a New Jersey man on
Canal Street? This story's not over--no way! There's so much more to report.] ... P.P.S.: The correction may not technically be the bald-faced lie it initially appears to be. Note especially the brilliant phrase, "the processing altered them further." Who did the 'processing"? (The photographer in question seems to say it wasn't him.)
Isn't that like a newspaper saying that the facts changed in
transcription and "the writing altered them further." Well, OK then!
... More discussion here. ...
Update: The photographer used "an infrared chrome film, originally designed for 70-millimeter movie cameras, that changes hues when processed in the darkroom," reports Gabriel Sherman of NYO. That makes the NYT's correction deceptive mainly in giving the impression there was no human agency involved.
Maybe they didn't manipulate the image to make Warner look creepy.
Instead they chose a self-photoshopping film that made Warner look
creepy! Someone made that choice. You think the photographer didn't realize he was acheiving this effect? Does the Times
permit photographs that readers think are accurate representations of
what candidates really look like but in fact aren't at all? ... And
would they dare do that to Hillary? 12:02 P.M.
first phase of the GOP campaign will feature the fall from the top of
McCain and, if he runs, Giuliani. The next phase will be characterized
by doubts as to whether any of the remaining candidates are up to the
O.K. That should take, what, a week? What happens in April? 12:45 A.M.
Contrarian David Ignatius writes an Iraq column that's ... upbeat. ... I wish I didn't get queasy when I hit the Chalabi paragraph, though. ... 12:38 A.M.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Mickey's Assignment Desk: Got Tamiflu? The obvious, great front-page story that I'm amazed nobody's done yet: the hoarding of Tamiflu by celebrities and bigshots.
You know it's happening! It will quickly become the new currency of
connectedness, if it isn't already. The rich have compliant doctors,
informal networks, etc. ... Policy implications: Less
of the scarce, life-saving medicine for the little shots. Possibility
that overuse will allow the bird flu virus to become resistant to the
drug. ... This might even be a good Democratic issue, even though many
of those doing the hoarding (at least around here) are probably
Democrats. ... Where's Pear? ... Update: Pharmablogger Derek Lowe is skeptical about Tamiflu's effectiveness against the bird flu. (See also here). ... 10:42 P.M.
Howie Kurtz (remember him?) makes a good and fairly subtle point about those 'new-low'-for-Bush polls:
Can I just grumble a little about this USA Today /CNN poll?
"President Bush's 'approval rating' has sunk to a new low according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll released Monday.
latest results show only 36% of those polled saying they 'approve' of
the way Bush is handling his job. Bush's previous low was 37%, set last
"Sixty percent of those polled said they 'disapprove'
of Bush's performance. That matches an all-time worst rating hit last
November and again two weeks ago."
Bush is at a new low compared to USA's last poll. CBS has Bush at a new low compared to the last CBS poll. Etc., etc. All true, but they give the collective impression that Bush is sinking week to week.[**] Why do they only compar[e] figures to their own past surveys, when they're fully aware of the others? [Emph. added]
**--as each separate organization in turn comes out with its "new low" poll.
The drumbeat of separate, self-referencing "new low" polls may become a factor driving poll numbers even further down. ... P.S.: If
these outfits polled every week, maybe this wouldn't be a distorting
factor. Any turnaround would be quickly picked up and acknowledged. But
they don't. USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup is actually one of the more frequent--it seems to come out every two weeks or so. At other polls (i.e. AP, and ABC/WaPo) the announcement of a "new low" could skip over a polling gap of a month. ... Update: As I'd hoped, Mystery Pollster has posted a serious analysis of Kurtz's point,
complete with colored graph that illustrates the potential bias from
blind self-referencing. He also demolishes a bogus Richard Morin
counterargument. ... 7:14 P.M.
Annie Proulx is just happy to have created a work of art. ... 11:33 A.M.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Paragraph of the day: Cathy Seipp's fabulously nasty lede about Nikki Finke. ... 11:36 P.M.
There's a big story in here somewhere! If you didn't quite understand the point of David Sanger's muddled front-page account of a "new direction" for President Bush, you are not alone. Sanger writes:
For the State of the Union address, Mr. Bush instructed his speechwriters to make global engagement a major theme, a big change for a man who ran in 2000 under the banner of a "humble foreign policy." [Emph. added]
How is a "humble foreign policy" in any way incompatible with "global
engagement"? Don't the tweedy foreign policy types who call for
"humility" also call for "global engagement"? The difference between
the two phrases certainly doesn't seem like a "big change." Then
there's Sanger's lead:
WASHINGTON, March 12 — The
president who made pre-emption and going it alone the watchwords of his
first term is quietly turning in a new direction, warning at every
opportunity of the dangers of turning the nation inward and
isolationist, and making the case for international engagement on
issues from national security to global economics.
"pre-emption" and "going it alone" are hardly "isolationist" impulses.
They're unilateral non-isolationist impulses, no? So the old direction
is non-isolationist. The "new" direction is non-isolationist. What's
the big change? ... P.S.: A real shift would be something like "Bush was a unilateral non-isolationist, now he's a multilateral non-isolationist." But as my diavlogging colleague Bob Wright notes,
the unilateral/multilateral shift is old news and wouldn't get Sanger
on the front page. He needed to confect a new "new direction." ... Update: Yglesias suggests the public-opinion trend Bush is fighting isn't "isolationism" either--it's specific opposition to the Iraq invasion and to poorly-negotiated trade agreements. ... 10:19 P.M link
Suppose you wanted to destroy the effectiveness of Dr. Wafa Sultan,
the non-trivially courageous Arab-American psychiatrist who went on Al
Jazeera and "bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and
political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of
Muhammad." What would you do? You would arrange for the American Jewish
Congress to "invit[e] her to speak in May at a conference in Israel." What
better way to get her dismissed as a tool of the Zionists by the Arab
audience she's trying to reach? ... Is the AJC really that dumb? Or
does the institutional impulse--to get in on her act--trump a serious
interest in letting her views have an impact? ... 8:11 P.M. link
Attention Must Be Paid, Briefly: Could an Iraqi civil war really "cost the United States its army"? ... Not just cost us significant casualties, mind you--but effectively cost us the entire army:
is strange to contemplate the possibility that the greatest army in
world history could be slaughtered in a Middle East conflagration.
Or is Gary Hart hyperventilating in a way that reminds you why you were relieved he blew his chance at being President in 1988? [He compares our situation to Napoleon's retreat from Russia--ed Those
who don't ignore history are condemned to think it will be repeated,
although the two situations actually seem quite dissimilar (i.e. we
aren't going to retreat on foot without formidable defenses). And
wouldn't a united, nationalist anti-U.S. uprising be more dangerous for
our troops than a civil war in which Iraqi sects are fighting each other?] 7:37 P.M. link
Sunday, March 12, 2006
I didn't know Virginia Postrel had done that. What an admirable thing. ... [via Insta] 12:10 P.M.
Boss in cocoon: I'm with Yglesias [v]--this announcement is depressing.
A Springsteen/Seeger album seems entirely pitched to a subset of the
already-converted--no red-state audience there. And Seeger's a bit of a
self-righteous twit, no? I bet half of Bosswell Eric Alterman's readers hate him. ... P.S.:
I still contend that with a bit of subtle courting--it would take more
than a few lunches at the Manhattan Institute, but maybe not that much
more--conservatives could have at least partially pried Springsteen
from the liberal death grip of Dave Marsh, Jon Landau, et.al. ... P.P.S.:
Yglesias is actually making a broader point--that, given the successful
GOP attacks on Dem elitism, well-known figures from the arts and
entertainment world are "terrible spokespeople" for Democratic causes.
It's nice that they give money--but as Yglesias points out you
don't see rich Republican businessmen trying to become GOP spokesmen
themselves and you don't see GOP politicians publicly celebrating their
ties to rich businessmen. Yet Democratic
music and movie stars are still under the illusion that they can "use
their celebrity" wisely for the cause. At some point, someone is going
to get them (even Clooney) the message: We want your money but we don't
want you! Your celebrity doesn't help us. It hurts us. ... P.P.P.S.: Here's a good test case: Richard Dreyfuss, one of the smarter and more knowledgeable movie stars, recently gave a speech suggesting (not unsmartly) that President Bush should be impeached.
Whether or not you think this is a good idea--I think it's a bad
idea--did Dreyfuss' endorsement help or hurt the pro-impeachment cause?
I'd say hurt. ... And if even a Dreyfuss hurts, an Alec Baldwin or
Barbra Streisand can't help! ... [So it's a good thing for Dems that Springsteen isn't trying to reach the unconverted. He'd only hurt--ed
I guess I'd draw a distinction between just giving speeches and
endorsing--almost always counterproductive these days--and actually
producing a work that in itself helps change minds. Name one--ed Steve Earle, "Ellis Unit One."] ... 11:49 A.M. link
You've Not Seen Nothing Like the Mighty Kos: Jason Zengerle's slam of the Daily Kos (which backed the losing challenger in a Texas Dem primary) may have been unfair. But this part rang true:
[M]ore often than not, these liberal bloggers (especially Kos) act like they already have taken over the world--writing manifestoes, issuing threats, and engaging in all sorts of chest-thumping behavior. But, like I said, their batting average is still a big fat zero.
P.S.: OK, give Kos the manifestoes. That's what outsiders do. But not the thuggishness. ... [via RCP] 12:50 A.M.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Post-post-post-scarcity politics: Six ideas I took away from Garance Franke-Ruta's somewhat dense and academic essay on Dems and cultural "values" in The American Prospect: ... 1) Underneath, America's becoming like a videogame--"a more atomized, rage-filled outlook that values consumption, sexual permissiveness, and xenophobia." Yikes. ... 2)
The half of the population that votes reacts against the growing anomie
by embracing "moralistic politics." That's especially true of
lower-income voters, who need moral order to survive in a more chaotic
social environment. ... 3) In fact, "traditional values have become aspirational,"
complicating Tom Frankish efforts of Democrats to get less affluent
voters to drop the Republican cultural nonsense and vote their
pocketbooks. ... 4) Suddenly it's 1960 again, and Democrats like Franke-Ruta are worrying how to deal with "relative affluence" and "relative isolation" in a "post-scarcity society." ... 5)
The last time around, in the actual 60's, JFK's Democratic answer to
affluent isolation was not so much to embrace traditionalist values as
create new, patriotic values ("Ask not," etc.) Is this national service
answer now a) a harder sell than ever, b)
needed more than ever, or both? If not national service, is there
another non-traditionalist Dem morally-ordering institution out there?
My instinct is that in 2006 health care--the social effort to
beat back death and disability--is a more potent basis for egalitarian
community than Peace Corpsing. For one thing, it's solidly rooted in individual self-interest. ... 6) Webbische Dean-friendly "progressives" like Franke-Ruta aren't likely to be the paleoliberal threat to the Democratic party many centrists fear.
Why? As Matt Bai has pointed out, they have little allegiance to old
Dem interest groups--unions and civil rights groups, in particular. At
bottom, they're desperate reformers open to new ideas. ... 5:12 P.M.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Of course, if everyone followed the Fat Bald Guy Rule then it wouldn't work anymore, because it wouldn't be true that
a fat bald guy manages to assemble a résumé that at first glance
resembles that possessed by his good-looking competition, the FBGR
assumes that the former record is actually far more impressive than the
In fact, in that case you be well-advised to tilt against fat, bald guys. ... 7:21 P.M.
Thursday, March 9, 2006
Has Dubai adopted the Ledeen solution
(which Ledeen proposed back on February 24)? ... If so, should it be
applied to all foreign ownership of ports and other sensitive
industries, as he recommends? Isn't there a downside--e.g. wasteful,
self-serving bureaucracy-- to creating an institution where the owners
do not have control? ... 3:12 P.M.
Celebrity over party? Is California's GOP governor Arnold Schwarzenegger protecting his fellow Hollywood bigshot, Rob Reiner?
Reiner managed to create (through a 1998 ballot initiative) a
California Children and Families Commission as a sort of alternative
mini-government that spent millions of taxpayer dollars on Reiner's pet
projects. In the years that followed, Reiner was frequently mentioned
as a possible Democratic candidate for governor. Now Reiner's fiefdom
is mired in a scandal-is-what's-legal controversy, but Schwarzenegger inexplicably doesn't dare to replace him as chairman of the commission--even though his term has expired. L.A. Weekly's Bill Bradley has more than you need to know. ... (See also the very sharp comments.) ... P.S.:
One would ordinarily assume that Arnold is holding out for some sort of
deal--e.g. he lets Reiner resume his chairmanship in exchange for some
sort of Hollywood support (or at least neutrality) in the upcoming
gubernatorial election. But it's not clear a) why Reiner needs the chairmanship that badly or b) that Reiner can deliver lots of Hollywood money or support to Schwarzenegger. He's not Laurie David! ... Update: Alert reader L.F. suggests that Arnold is simply torturing Reiner
by letting him twist slowly, etc. while his agency is being audited and
his uncertain status keeps the scandal in the papers and maximizes the
damage to his reputation. ... 10:53 A.M.
Pinch vs. Floyd--Krugman's "power relations" in operation: The NYT's visionary leader addresses his grateful employees, who wonder why he's paying himself a half-million dollar bonus (for meeting all of 59% of the company's earnings target). ... 1:30 A.M.
Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Can't See the Forest for the Gang of 500! A time-line of Dubai ports deal analysis:
February 24, 2006--"There's
no way Republicans in Congress - especially those up for reelection
this November - are going to stand by and let this single deal
(irrespective of the merits) erase a 10-20 point advantage over
Democrats on national security. Ain't gonna happen."-- Tom Bevan, RealClearPolitics blog,
February 24, 2006--"The deal is dead"--John Podhoretz, National Review Online's "The Corner"
February 24, 2006--"Maybe Bush ...should focus on how to "finesse" the effect the deal's inevitable demise will have on our relationship with friendly Arab nations like the UAE. ... Why not kill it today?"-- kausfiles
March 8, 2006--"The outcome: there will be no veto because DPW [Dubai Ports World] will give in to pressure and withdraw the U.S. portion of the deal."--ABC's The Note [Various emphases added and subtracted]
Mark Halperin and The Note--always the last to know! ... Maybe they should spend less time at Lauriol Plaza and more time reading blogs! ... Or watching them. ... P.S.: The Note does say, with as many layers of saving irony as you want, "We are so, so embarrassed that it took us this long." ... 4:08 P.M. link
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Unified Oscar Theory: Reader W, who should be a TV critic, emails with a surprisingly all-encompassing interpretation of Sunday's show:
I really did like your brother's piece.
I do think that Jon Stewart is the natural heir to Johnny Carson. He
has the same kind of understated manner that Jonny Carson has. However,
Johnny would never point out that he wasn't as important as his guests.
Jon was doing this all night long. He was acting as if he didn't
deserve the role of Oscar host. He starts off by showing all the former
hosts who wouldn't agree to host this year. ...
Then he comes
out and says something along the lines of "I can't believe you've
chosen me -- the fourth lead in Death [to] Smoochie." But Chris Rock,
[et.al] are still appearing in Death of Smoochie type movies. Jon, at
least, had the dignity of taking that kind of role when he was starting
out. As I recall he also made some sort of remark to George Clooney
about wishing he were him or envying him or something. I think that
this self-deprecating manner was a tactical error. He started off the
show by putting the idea into everyone's head that we'd been
shortchanged in some way by getting him as a host.
that the "past" is somehow better than the present was also emphasized
by the fact that [producer Gil] Cates kept showing all these old movie
clips as opposed to focusing on the movies that had been produced this
year. And by the way, the movies this year had some of the best acting
I've seen in the last decade, so I'm not sure why he was doing that.
Then there was that whole theme about how horrible it is to watch a DVD
and how great it is to watch a movie in a big theater with strangers.
Again, the theme that somehow times were a changin' for the worst. Then
Morgan Freeman ... made some comment about the line in Sunset Blvd --
"We used to have faces then" -- and said, well, we still have great
faces. ... The whole show had this subtext of the present not being good enough. [Emphasis added]
might have added: Lauren Bacall's halting appearance held a similar
message--'Hollywood used to be glamorous, but things have changed.' ...
11:51 P.M. link
Bob Wright tries one mo' time to get me to write off Ann Coulter. ... 2:11 A.M.
Monday, March 6, 2006
Look Who Thinks He Caused the Deaths of Thousands: It's our New Orwell, Andrew Sullivan:
have learned a tough lesson, and it has been a lot tougher for those
tens of thousands of dead, innocent Iraqis and several thousand killed
and injured American soldiers than for a few humiliated pundits. The
correct response to that is not more spin but a real sense of shame and
sorrow that so many have died because of errors made by their
superiors, and by writers like me.
may be (characteristically) overestimating his influence--or did other
people actually take him seriously? ... I do notice that he has mostly
dropped the tone of self-regarding, bullying certitude with
which he hounded anyone who had doubts about the Iraq invasion before
March, 2003. And I agree with him that "it is far too soon to know the
ultimate outcome of our gamble." (Although, today's powerful Iraq the Model post is deeply disturbing to those who were beginning to feel justified in the hope that Iraq will avoid a prolonged, bloody Sunni-Shiite conflict.) ... 5:38 P.M.
I thought George Clooney was wrong Sunday night about Hollywood and AIDS:
"We were the first to shout about AIDS when it was just a whisper."
I'm guessing the first wide-release AIDS movie was "Longtime Companion" -- in 1990. That's a little slow, especially when Oprah had predicted millions of heterosexuals would be dead from AIDS by then.
And Time and Newsweek had AIDS cover stories in 1983. Philadelphia didn't come out until 1993. ... When you're a decade behind Newsweek, you're late! ... Update: Clooney defenders note there was a made-for-TV movie, An Early Frost, only two years after Newsweek! ... 5:09 P.M.
Always trust content from kf reader "G":
"[W]ith odds running 1/4 for Brokeback, betting against it could be a pretty lucrative wager right now." -- last Wednesday
Note to F. Rich and competing Oscar pundits: It's not too late for that America-is-homophobic-after-all column. ... Update: LAT's Kenneth Turan claims firsties on the Hollywood-is-homophobic angle. **
the privacy of the voting booth, as many political candidates who've
led in polls only to lose elections have found out, people are free to
act out the unspoken fears and unconscious prejudices that
they would never breathe to another soul, or, likely, acknowledge to
themselves. And at least this year, that acting out doomed "Brokeback
Mountain." [Emph. added]
Alternative explanation: Hype was better than film! ... P.S.:
If the problem is really that Academy members let their fears win out
over their better judgment--which I don't buy--isn't it more likely
that the fears were not the Academy members own unspoken homophobic fears but fears of what their audience would think if they gave first prize to Brokeback? ... Fear
of the audience--specifically, fear that the mainstream American
audience will conclude you are a bunch of out-of-touch coastal liberal
elitists--may in fact be the most pervasive fear in all of media. It's what makes the newsweeklies so clumsy, for example. ("Gee, they like American Idol. ... We must do a cover on American Idol.") It may have been what killed Brokeback's chance. But it's hardly an "unspoken" fear these days, is it? People babble and blog about it obsessively. ... [Why would they fear the audience? I thought Brokeback was sweeping the nation?--ed You think these Hollywood pros are as gullible as Sullivan?] ... More: See also Reuters. ... S.F. Chron local reax.... HuffPoster Bill Robinson has some sensible things to say. ...
**--Nikki Finke may have beaten Turan to it. But she says Brokeback was "slow and ponderous." Why, exactly, couldn't that be the reason it lost? ... 12:53 A.M. link
Sunday, March 5, 2006
Oscar Bump Builds into Heartland Tsunami! Brokeback Mountain out of top 10 on Academy Awards weekend. 11:45 A.M.
Three Questions for Krugman: Paul Krugman's column of 2/27 [$] argues that what's happening is not
the 20 percent or so of American workers who have the skills to take
advantage of new technology and globalization are pulling away from the
80 percent who don't have these skills.
Krugman says, a tiny, tiny minority (he talks about the top one percent
or the top hundredth of a percent) is getting extremely rich--which he
declares, in a double-hedged sentence:
may have as much to do with power relations as it does with market forces. [Emph. added]
indeed an anti-CW position, as Krugman notes--the established consensus
being the "80-20" skills-centric view of rising economic inequality.
It's also a highly convenient position for Krugman, since it
lets him claim that somehow, through unspecified changes in "power
relations," we can stop this tiny minority of "oligarchs" from
continuing to get rich.
But just because it's convenient doesn't
mean it's wrong! And just because the very rich got very richer during
the Clinton years--not just in the Bush and Reagan years--doesn't make
it wrong either. But here are some initial, top-of-head questions:
1. What if the top tenth of a percent didn't exist?
Wouldn't it look, in the rest of society, as if the relatively skilled
two or three deciles at the top were pulling away from everyone
else--in other words, the 80/20 consensus would be true? Krugman seems
to be saying that the top 20% didn't really get that much richer at
all. He cites a study showing that between 1972 and 2001 "the wage and
salary income of Americans at the 90th percentile of the income
distribution rose only 34 percent." But I bet if you looked at overall
wealth--including stock and real estate investments, 401 (k)s,
etc.--you'd discover the top 20% doing a lot better than that, and a lot better than the bottom 80%.
2. Why do we care about income inequality? Because we care about social equailty, I've argued. We're Americans--we don't mind people getting rich. We do
mind richer people lording it over less rich people, or even thinking
they're better than less rich people. And if that's what you care
about, what happens to a tiny minority at the top--CEOs, baseball
players, Bill Gates and Steve Rattner--may not matter as much as what
happens in the vast affluence of the top 20%. There's a limit to how
many people the top tenth of a percent can boss around, after all. But
if the top 20% of Americans suddenly get enough relative wealth to wall
themselves off from everyone else, or to start hiring maids and butlers
and other servants (after decades when the number of houses with
servants declined), that could in itself be a big and unwelcome shift
in the tone of everyday life.
3. How exactly is Krugman going to stop the very rich from getting richer, anyway? Controlling
CEO pay would be a start. It seems obvious that top corporate pay is
out of control. But there's Charles Murray's argument to contend with:
"[W]hen a percentage point of market share is worth hundreds of
millions of dollars, the people who can help you get that extra
percentage point will command very large salaries."
CEO pay is only a start, anyway. Inequality is increasing, after all,
even within the broad, non-CEO ranks of people with college degrees, or
law degrees--because within the post-graduate professions, the
superstars with more uncredentializable talent are pulling ahead at the
expense of the pack. That's certainly what's happened in
journalism--look at what Tom Friedman makes. How do you stop the stars
from making lots of money in a mass society when people want to hear
the stars? (As Krugman argued, in another context: "You may think I was overpaid, but the market--not Enron--set those pay rates.") .
lots of people get rich out of sheer luck--they're the Mark Cubans and
Maria Cantwells who find themselves holding the right asset at the
right time. Can you stop such people from getting lucky without
throwing a big monkey wrench into the free market? I doubt it. Nor is
it clear we actually want a society in which luck isn't
rewarded, but talent is. That would mean that any remaining
inequalities were deserved--something that would be arguably much worse
for social equality.
Maybe Krugman's addressed
these issues in venues I haven't visited. If so, please let me know.
For now, I'm sticking with the conclusion Krugman himself seemed to
reach in the early editions of his book The Age of Diminished Expectations--that
there isn't much we can do, in practice, to stop either the top 20% or
the top 1% from getting richer if that's the direction in which the
underlying economy's moving. The better strategy, I still think, is to
focus on preventing this money inequality from translating into social
inequality. 1:07 A.M. link
Saturday, March 4, 2006
On Beyond Yeti: Did they say computers (enabling the cheap generation of new designs) and globalization were changing the auto industry? Here's the Tata Cliffrider, Inovo Lirica, Mazel Identity, Koenigsegg CCX, Loremo LS, and of course the Castagna Imperial Landaulet--all your old, familiar favorites--on one page. ... It's still not quite as easy to start a new car line as to start a blog--but it seems to be getting close. ... 7:12 P.M.
Did the press miss the most damning aspect of the Katrina video,
namely: How could anything serious (e.g. "Louisiana can't handle this.
Get that f-----g governor to let us take over") get done at a
videotaped meeting? When does the real meeting take place? If
administration officials were wasting time on for-show pep-rallies, no
wonder they dropped the ball. ... P.S.: Assuming you needed to have some sort of conference with officials in far-flung states, is there no way to conduct a secure videoconference or teleconference--e.g. one that can't be taped and leaked to the press? ... 12:46 P.M.
Friday, March 3, 2006
A.P.'s Mapesy Moment: The Associated Press finally acknowledges the difference between a levee "overrun" and a "breach" in an embarrassing "clarification"--embarrassing because of a) the hype with which A.P. surrounded its video; b) the elementary nature of the screw-up. ... As Drudge notes, the A.P. issued its statement after dinner on Friday like an indicted pol! ... Update: Wizbang notes A.P. also violated its own policy against using euphemisms like "clarification" instead of "correction." ... P.S.: How much of the A.P. drive to over-sell its video was driven by a powerful business impulse--to
become something of a first mover, or at least a presence, in the
Internet-video news business? At transition points, like the one we're
now in, having a big scandalous story can do a lot to put you on the
map. (See. e.g., Drudge, Lewinsky.) ... P.P.S.: I'm no Pinch Sulzberger-like media visionary,
but until last week's Katrina hype I was impressed with AP's video
news--it seemed as if they had the potential to put the network
newscasts out of business, positioning themselves as the unfiltered,
tell-it-straight Web alternative. ... (The three broadcast nets could
all just put the evening news on the Web every night, right? But then
they might erode their regular viewer base. A.P. would seem to have no
similar constraint.) .... 5:59 P.M.
Dept. of Damning Videos: I have a weakness for this kind of cartoon. ... 1:34 P.M.
Thursday, March 2, 2006
Topping Out: A good deal of the gleeful Froomkinian outrage in the press and Democratic party over that pre-Katrina video
seems to be based on what is at best is a semantic misunderstanding.
After Katrina, Bush said "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." In the video, Patterico points out, Bush is warned by hurricane expert Max Mayfield that there's a chance the "levees will be topped." Topping is different than breaching, no? When
a levee's "topped," or "overtopped," some water sloshes over it and
into the city. Then the storm passes and that's it. When a levee's
"breached," there's a hole in the levee and Lake Pontchartrain pours in
the gap and keeps pouring in until the city is completely flooded. What
Bush said after the storm seems quite consistent with what Mayfield
told him before the storm--i.e., he thought the levees might be topped
by the storm surge but not that they'd be breached, with the catastrophe that resulted. ... P.S.: Is the despised, self-parodying MSM intentionally glossing over this important difference in order to exaggerate the anti-Bush shock value of the video? I don't know--but I do know that the actual "topped" quote was hard to find in print, lending some of the stories
an eerie, undocumented quality. Do reporters not print the quote
because then they couldn't justify the charge that Bush lied about the
"breach"? You make the call. I'm too paranoid at this point. ... P.P.S.: Shouldn't Bush's press operation, rather than Powerline and Patterico, be forcefully pointing all this out? ...
readers note that "topping" is not as benign as I make it sound, since
water flowing over the top of a levee can erode it and lead to a "breach" (though it's not clear that this is what happened in the New Orleans breaches that did occur). But "topping" and "breaching" are still two different things. ... Update: NOLA denizen Harry Shearer (citing this article) says some levees breached after overtopping and some breached without overtopping. ... 5:14 P.M. link
Excitable Times in Ruins! Did the New York Times really run a story last week headlined:
More Clashes Shake Iraq; Political Talks Are in Ruins
"Ruins"? Wow. That is
embarrassing. ... The hed was repeated in the story's lede, which said
that "political negotiations over a new government" were "in ruins."
Funny thing, though--in today's NYT, negotiations seem to be going on again. Those Iraqi "ruins" get picked up pretty quickly. ... P.S.: I'm not saying Bill Keller's** headline and lede writers were amping up the Iraq hysteria in order to manufacture another Tet.
Maybe they just have no judgment or perspective. It's bleeding obvious
that when a Sunni delegation announces it is "suspending talks" in
reaction to some awful sectarian attacks, that doesn't mean talks won't
be un-suspended after a decent interval. ... In this case it took 48 hours. ... [Thanks to Mudville Gazette for pointing out the NYT howler.]
**--Keller's been in the editor's job long enough to be held responsible for the continuation of this chronic NYT story-tweaking problem. ... 1:27 A.M. link
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Sorry, Shafer: "Bhagwan" Charlie Peters' plot to take over the world by seeding important publications with former editors of the Washington Monthly is back on track! 5:09 P.M.
Kf's Out-of-the-Know Longshot Oscar Pick: Best picture--Good Night and Good Luck. ... Why? Not because it's a great film--jeez, it's barely substantial enough to be called a full-length film at all. The reason is interest-group politics.
The easiest way to get an Academy membership is by acting.
Consequently, there are more actors in the Academy than directors, etc.
They're the biggest voting bloc. They tend to support fellow actors who fulfill the dream of directing, as George Clooney did in Good Night (and as Kevin Costner did in Dances With Wolves--which
then bizarrely won Best Picture!). ... This year, you've got a five-way
race with five weak entries. (Not just in box office terms--they're all
flawed films.) In theory, a film could win with only 21% of the vote.
Clooney's interest-group actor base is probably close to 20%! ... P.S.: In practice, Brokeback will probably get way over 21% and win. I just want credit if it doesn't. ... P.P.S.: Maybe this is already the accepted Contrarian Wisdom on all the Oscar sites that I haven't been reading. ... P.P.P.S.: It's not completely uninformed. ...
Several readers email with more examples of actors winning "Best
Picture" for films they directed, including at least two mediocrities
(marked with **): 2004 Million Dollar Baby** (Clint Eastwood); 1995 Braveheart (Mel Gibson); 1992 Unforgiven ** (Clint Eastwood); 1982 Gandhi (Richard Attenborough); 1980 Ordinary People (Robert Redford), which beat Scorsese's Raging Bull. ... I'm not even counting Ron Howard's win in 2001 for A Beautiful Mind;
Reader G. notes, however, that the actors' constituency--in the form of
the Screen Actors Guild--has already suggested where its votes will go:
[T]the logical recipient of that actor boost looks to be Crash, not Good Night, and Good Luck. Go back to this year's SAG Awards ... Good Night didn't get a single award. And neither did Brokeback.
In their "ensemble" category, which is basically SAG's stand-in for a
best picture category, four of the Oscar best pic nominees were also
nominated. ... And despite Clooney's pedigree, they went for Crash. In fact, it was Crash's win at SAG which elevated it into the spoiler spot for Brokeback.
He adds: "[W]iith odds running 1/4 for Brokeback, betting against it could be a pretty lucrative wager right now." ... Compared to me, G is an insider, so I would defer to him. But there's one other scenario: Clooney's directing role means his movie will take a chunk of the actors' vote, splitting it with Crash and allowing Brokeback to sneak in after all. ... 4:30 P.M. link
Hill Poll Shock? In New Hampshire. (Though, remember, they know Edwards in New Hampshire from the last go-round. Maybe he should be ahead at this point.) 2:19 P.M.
Stix Nix Prix Pix II: No bumping, please. We're reddish! I notice my hits have been down a bit this week--must be the lack of Brokeback coverage. The constant clamoring from readers who claim I've neglected this issue is finally getting to me, so here's Newsweek on the film's Breakout Into the Heartland!
An Oscar nod for Best Picture often means big box-office increases, but "Brokeback Mountain" hasn't gotten the kind of bump insiders expected.
Unlike last year's "Million Dollar Baby," which saw an 88 percent
increase between the noms and Oscar night, and "Chicago," which shot up
100 percent, the grosses for "Brokeback" have actually been declining every weekend. [Emph. added]
Newsweek's Sean Smith is actually a bit too downbeat about the film's B.O., saying "it'll now be lucky to touch $80 million." But it's at $75.8 now. It will get to $80 million. I stake my reputation on it! ... Will nobody defend this B+, over-hyped film except kf? ... [Thanks to M.C.] 1:02 P.M.
Dick Morris, outlining why Hillary isn't the sure-loser Republicans seem to think she is, seems almost Frank Rich-like in overestimating the political and cultural importance of Hollywood:
cultural forces that Hillary's candidacy will unleash - from the media,
from Hollywood and from the cultural icons who decree our lifestyles -
will be far beyond those that normally line up behind a presidential
candidate. A small foretaste emerged in ABC TV's show "Commander in
Chief," in which Geena Davis plays a female president who masters the
men and the crises that litter her path. What other presidential
candidacy was foreshadowed by a prime-time, hour-long weekly television
Didn't "Commander in Chief," um, flop? Just asking! ... P.S.: Would
it be completely impossible to just skip over the prescribed newsweekly
covers on "Are We Ready for a Woman President?" Maybe Newsweek will be so eager to beat Time to that one they'll get it out of the way next month. (Maybe they've already done them. Seems like it!) ... 11:44 A.M.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Congratulations to Franklin Foer, the new editor of TNR. ... Andrew Sullivan sucks up to everyone involved, even his old enemies, here. [Sucking up is just the Darwinian default position--ed. For bloggers it's more a suck/attack cycle.]... 2:43 P.M.
kf vs. the Angry Wright: On bh.tv I defend Ann Coulter,
who accused my friend and colleague Bob Wright of having "affection for
these terrorists." Maybe I handled it well, maybe I didn't! You make
the call (but just skip over the three seconds where I stare
Quayle-like at the camera). ... P.S.: In the "diavolg" about Coulter I declare that Bob's recent NYT op-ed
(the one Coulter was discussing) makes "one very good point" but "went
astray in a couple of places." I should say what I meant by this:
The very good point: That,
contrary to some of the posturing around the cartoon debate, the
Western mainstream press practices self-censorship to avoid offending
ethnic and religious groups all the time, and that's a reasonable thing to do.
The couple of places the piece goes astray in my opinion:
Wright clearly distingushes between self-censorship and censorship, but
then glides over this distinction when he considers the anti-cartoon
riots--even though it's at the heart of what's offensive about Muslims
attacking the Danish government for something printed in a Danish newspaper. Wright says:
not take the model that has worked in America and apply it globally?
Namely: Yes, you are legally free to publish just about anything, but
if you publish things that gratuitously offend ethnic or religious
groups, you will earn the scorn of enlightened people everywhere.
not at all clear, of course, that the rioters would accept the first
part of this "model"--about being "legally free to publish just about
anything." I certainly get the impression
that they want, not self-censorship, but censorship. And if they are
actively offended by a failure to censor, then it's also not at all
clear that their sensibilities can be respected in Western-style
societies, no? Which brings up ...
2) Having established that Americans self-censor, Wright argues the conflict is merely about the subject of the taboos. (He makes this argument most explicitly on bhTV here).
No big deal! We're just haggling over the terms, not the principle. "We
ask only that the offended group in turn respect the verdicts of other
groups about what they find most offensive." But of course that's only possible with groups that find a fairly narrow range of things "most offensive."
If there were a Ku Klux Klan-like religion or culture that found
expressions of racial equality highly offensive, we would not respect
this taboo in the name of social peace. If there were a Soviet-style
religion that found criticism of Stalin or maybe Tom Cruise highly
offensive, we would not respect their "verdict" either. They would have
to be offended. At least one big issue with respect to Islam is whether
what it finds "most offensive"--the subject of a proposed taboo--is
something narrow enough that it can be the subject of self-censorship
without radically altering Western democracy. If it's just the
depiction of the Prophet--well, fine, that seems narrow enough. I join
Wright in criticizing the Danish newspaper editor. If what offends is
the depiction of women as full equals of men--or the lack of actual censorship
as opposed to self-censorship--that would be a problem. Accepting the
need for self-censorship doesn't avoid this problem, although Wright
gives the impression that it more or less solves the riddle of cultural
1:04 A.M. link
Vicious Circle Alert: Oakland,
California, suffering a spurt of violent crime, desperately needs more
police officers. The city has money to hire them, the voters having
approved a special tax. But nobody who's qualified wants to be a cop in Oakland, apparently--even with a salary of $89,000 after three years and retirement at 50. ... [Thanks to reader J.] 12:19 P.M.
It's Not Just Rassmussen: Two other polls have now confirmed the startlingly decisive anti-Dubai-deal sentiments uncovered by Rasmussen's robo poll. Mystery Pollster discounts
the argument that CBS' poll is overweighted with Dems. If you adjust to
lower the number of Dems, the result stays the same. ... The only
bright spot I see for Bush is that a 54-32 majority of Republicans in
the RT Strategies poll said we should "trust Bush" on the deal instead
of having Congress "take special action"--wording that might have
appealed to Republicans but further alienated Democrats. (Overall, the
verdict was still 61/27 against Bush.) ... 11:52 A.M.
JPod, like MKau, fails to discern any Lloyd Cutleresque K-Street genius behind the engineered 45-day fallback delay in the ports deal. What, exactly, will it change? Maybe the Bush administration is counting on the Feiler Faster
principle--the public will grow bored with the issue with unprecedented
speed. They'll be ready for a new plot twist. 45 days is more than an eternity in politics now! Something new will come along. Etc.
would probably be true if there wasn't a large political
class--Democrats, and me-tooing GOPs, and the press--with a major
interest in keeping the public alarmed and re-alarmed:
delay is perfectly timed to allow the Democrats to raise it all anew in
a couple of months, and if necessary to go toe-to-toe with George W.
Bush should he hold firm on his determination to veto any congressional
attempt to block the port deal.
A couple of months from now is a
couple of months closer to the election. They'll just ride a second
wave, and unless polls shift dramatically, the president will remain
all alone out there.
There will be no ports deal. The wise men are wrong.
Instapundit's Katrina/Rita Relief donation list.
Mickey Kaus, a Slate contributor, is author of The End of Equality.
Bloggingheads --Bob Wright's videoblog project. Gearbox--Searching for the Semi-Orgasmic Lock-in. Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--He reports! And decides! Wonkette--Makes Jack Shafer feel guilty. Salon--Survives! kf gloating on hold. Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! David Corn--Trustworthy reporting from the left. Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Keller's Calmer Times--Registration required. NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare! Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog. Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh--Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna's Huffosphere--Now a whole fleet of hybrid vehicles. TomPaine.com--Web-lib populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog. B-Log--Blog of spirituality! Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Eduwonk--You'll never have to read another mind-numbing education story again. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. John Leo--If you've got political correctness, he's got a column ... [More tk]
Photograph of Judith Miller on the Slate home page by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.